BY MELANIE BUCK –
Mena City Council met last week at City Hall and introduced two new resolutions, approved the purchase of equipment, and appointed members to various committees.
The Street Department was approved to receive a new roller that will be purchased from the low bidder, Scott Equipment, for $16,500. Mayor McKee explained the advantage the new roller will bring. “With all the patching we’re doing, the roller works a lot better than driving back and forth with a truck to pack it down. We can pull the roller behind our regular trucks and it’s going to make it a lot better.”
Resolution #1320 was passed by the Council authorizing the Mayor and City Clerk/Treasurer to enter into an engineering services agreement with Vaughn Engineering, Inc., a local engineering firm owned by Greg Vaughn. Vaughn explained that approximately 40 miles of water distribution lines will be installed in some areas, including Big Fork, Sulpher Springs, Hog Jawl, and Polk Road 42.
Mena Water Utilities Manager Charles Pittman said that funding the project has been a 10-year process but they have finally seen fruition to all of the work. Pittman said the funding is split into four parts. The Utility received a USDA loan in the amount of $425,000, the USDA Rural Development is giving a $1.25 million grant, a second grant is funded from state agency, CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) for $1,115,200, and the Water Department is responsible for only $9,800. The cost of the project is an estimated $2.8 million dollars and will have the ability to supply water to up to 250 potential customers.
Resolution #1321 was also passed by City Council. It will allow the submission of an application for a Trails for Life grant that will benefit Aubry Tapley Park. Parks and Recreation Superintendent Nathan Fowler explained that a quarter-mile walking trail will be built upon approval of the $35,000 non-matching grant. Fowler will make a presentation to the state in February and hopes to know whether the grant is approved or not by the end of March 2016.
In other matters, the Council approved the appointment of Ron Tilley to the Mena Planning Commission, his term is set to expire on October 31, 2018 and the re-appointment of Austin Emery to the Mena Hospital Commission, set to expire on August 31, 2020. The ordinance review committee reported that they tabled a request to allow the sale of fireworks inside the city and will revisit the subject pending further questions and research.
In department reports, Fire Chief John Puckett reported that the Mena Fire Department responded to 15 calls, one auto extrication, four airport stand-bys, two grass fires, and one unauthorized burn. Mena Regional Health System Administrator Jay Quebedeaux said that the hospital had 188 admissions in August, 725 emergency room visits, 33 babies delivered, 1,732 clinic visits, and 77 surgeries. Parks Superintendent Jerry McKee said a new electric motor was purchased for the pump at Mena City Pool after the old one went out at the end of the swimming season. Police Chief Brandon Martin reported that Mena Police Department Officers worked 24 accidents, several arrests, and 137 reserve officer hours were donated during August. Martin also said that they have seven people in their reserve officer training class, four of which will remain in Mena, and three will volunteer at other agencies.
The next Mena City Council meeting is slated for October 13 at 6p.m. in Mena City Hall.